A “Wash out” sounds like a nice clean job doesn’t it? Well, like everything else to do with steam locomotives, it’s dirty, tiring and hard work. You also run the risk of getting very very wet if you aren’t careful and experienced. Thankfully the three people that we sent down to Southall this weekend to wash out 70013 “Oliver Cromwell” have plenty of experience of washouts (and other maintenance tasks) so they managed to complete the task without being soaked to the skin.
For those who are still wondering what makes a ‘Washout’ different to a wash, it is basically the same as the regular de-scaling of the kettle in your kitchen, but on a much bigger scale. First you empty the boiler of water and sludge, then you use a high pressure jet of water and a series of soft copper rods to clean out any other debris from the boiler, making sure that you never direct the jet in such a way that it splashes straight back at you! Then when the water coming out of the boiler is clean and clear (not like the orange scum shown in the picture) you close the boiler up again and refill with water.
Obviously it is easier to say than to do, and takes much longer to actually do than it does to read the description.
Now that the boiler is washed out and full of clean fresh water, Cromwell can be got ready for the “Cathedrals Express” trip to Norwich on Thursday the 23rd of April for Steam Dreams. Well done team, thanks for all your efforts.
It's not all work though, we do allow our team to have a break now and again, here they are eating lunch in the sunshine.
Meanwhile back at Loughborough, 30777 "Sir Lamiel" is still receiving attention: while she is not required for traffic we have been working away at various fittings, overhauling some parts and renewing others and the cleaners have had a field day shining up the brasswork so that when she is next in traffic she will glisten in the sunshine.
D123 was in traffic this weekend, doing what she does best and the coach is progressing, the kitchen area now boasts a cooker and fridge. Several (intentional) holes have appeared in the body work ready for new material to be welded in place, but there are still a few areas to be cut out before we can get the welder in - Angle Grinder anyone?